What are precautions while loading Heavy lift cargo?

Prior lifting

  • Check vessel’s stability.
  • Maximum possible loss of GM in the operation to be calculated.
  • Maximum possible list and trim during operation to be calculated.
  • Free surface effects to be considered.
  • All tanks should be pressed up or empty to avoid free surface effect.
  • Vessel to be even keel and upright as far as practicable.
  • Test the SWL of the lifting gear and associated equipments, it must be below the weight to be lifted.
  • Check load density of the hatch/deck area the load being loaded.
  • Load density must not exceed the value given in stability booklet.
  • Distribute load on deck using dunnage.
  • Unnecessary personnel removed.
  • Lashing arrangement is sufficient. Extra lashing points may be welded.

Rigging of heavy lift

  • All gears associated with lifting such as runners, guy pendants, tackles, blocks etc, to be examined carefully.
  • Lifting gears and associated equipments to be greased and renewed as necessary.
  • All other riggings cleared.
  • Rig wires, blocks etc as per rigging plan.
  • Rig Preventers and backstays as per the plan.
  • Topping lift in good condition and securely shackled (moused).
  • Winches should be in double gear.
  • Derrick unclamped from mast.
  • Rig extra stays if required
  • Once clamp removed, take weight on messenger and slowly lower the derrick.

When lifting

  • Ensure fore and aft moorings are taut and tended.
  • Use steadying lines (swing preventers).
  • Competent winchman.
  • Communication signals understood. Standard signals as per COSWP to be used.
  • Only one competent person to signal the whole operation.
  • Whole operation to be supervised by a responsible officer.
  • Raise gangway.
  • The derrick to be plumbed over the weight.
  • Take weight slowly.
    • Lift the load slowly, swing in the correct position and load on the appropriate position.
    • Control swing by steadying stays.
    • Consider emergency action if vessel develops heavy list (more than calculated) during the operation.
    • Take proper lashing, considering heavy weather on the voyage.



  • Following to be carried out prior to operation.
    Safety meeting.
    Risk assessment.
    All personnel involved in operation to be briefed about every step of operation.
    Communications to be set up between all personnel involved in operation.

  • It is hard to imagine heavy lifting such as offshore installation cargo. More central to the topic, i.e. the stability of the ship during such an operation is mandatory.

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